Our world is a reflection of our personal brand, including our virtual world. Accordingly, etiquette is a wise, worthwhile effort. We live in a transparent world knowing details of others’ lives: exactly where people visit, what they eat, and with whom they are sharing the experience.
Many social etiquette resources exist, from Emily Post to Huffington Post. The Research Group compiled a list of guardrails to assist us in navigating social media. As a result, the power of what represents us, our personal brand, remains in our control:
Be intentional. How do you use Facebook vs. LinkedIn vs. Instagram vs. Twitter vs. SnapChat? Rules to consider: Family for Facebook, LinkedIn/Twitter for Business, and Instagram/SnapChat for Friends. Platforms aside, remember the content you post is permanent, accessible through eternity, and represents you to everyone who views it. According to Emily Post: Keep it clean and civil.
Know your sites. All social media sites have privacy settings, tagged post approval settings, [and] creative aesthetic enhancement features. Take time to identify how you desire the site to treat content others post about you, and who has access to your content and the content you post.
Redefine “Friend.” Do not feel compelled to connect with acquaintances or strangers. Be selective about the community you build, and adopt a no guilt rule: You have the power to delete or ignore whomever and whatever you desire. If someone you connect with becomes offensive or inappropriate, delete them. According to Emily Post: It’s your page.
Make it personal. When you connect with a colleague or friend, customize the invitation based on your relationship. It enhances the connection, affirms you are genuine, and adds to your personal brand (especially when connecting professionally via LinkedIn!).
Drama is real world. Airing your dirty laundry to the entire social media world is never an intelligent plan, nor is attacking someone or a group of people. Vent to those who love you and leave your reputation intact.
Be careful your virtual social networks do not replace authentic relationships. Enjoy life with those who are truly present in yours.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw
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